tirsdag 31. desember 2019

Hong Kong: reporter blinded covering protests on her bid to sue police

In late September, the journalist Veby Mega Indah stood on a footbridge in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai district documenting another day of clashes between anti-government protesters and riot police. The demonstrators, crouched under umbrellas, inched forward toward police firing and retreating down a set of stairs toward the street.

A journalist of 13 years, trained to work in hostile environments, she stood to the side, out of the way of the standoff and in a group of other reporters. She knew to wear goggles, helmet and a high-vis jacket clearly labelled PRESS. But suddenly, the police were waving their weapons toward them. Indah heard someone shout “kei che, kei che” (“journalists, journalists”). “I saw them taking aim and I heard someone say, ‘Don’t aim at us!’ and before I could react I saw the projectile coming,” she said.

She felt a searing pain behind her goggles and collapsed, caught by a journalist behind her before hitting the ground, where she lay bleeding and repeating: “My right eye, my right eye.” Later she would find out the projectile had struck that eye, rupturing the eyeball and leaving her partially blind for the rest of her life.